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Shards of Honour (Vorkosigan Saga (Publication) #1)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  14,347 ratings  ·  773 reviews
Cordelia Naismith and her survey crew are attacked by Barrayars, mutineers against ship commander Aral Vorkosigan. Aral and Cordelia learn what honor means to the other, admire cultural differences, escape dangers.
Paperback, 253 pages
Published December 1st 2003 by Earthlight (first published 1986)
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mark monday
Cordelia Naismith is the captain of an astronomical survey ship from the peaceful Beta Colony. Lord Aral Vorkosigan is the leader of a secret military mission from the warlike planet Barrayar. the title "Shards of Honor" no doubt refers to the small bits of honor that Aral must cling to as he finds himself a central figure in a massive undertaking that will sacrifice thousands of innocents for the greater good; it also may refer to the honor that Cordelia herself gains and loses and gains again ...more
okay, so let me just say that i was totally dreading this book.

i promised some of the ladies in my online life that i would "read more fantasy" and this was suggested, even though this is more sci-fi/space opera to my untrained eyes, yeah?? i mean - where are my unicorns!? just one token unicorn will do!

this cover's got spaceships on it, and laser beams and futuristic clothing, and that is just not appealing to me, as a reader. i look at books like this, and i feel like the author probably will
Mar 18, 2011 j rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to j by: Elizabeth
What happened? What are these sensible, mature adults doing in the middle of my space opera? Where are the hot-headed, brash heroes? Where is the sass-mouthed young princess? WHERE ARE THE ROBOTS AND ALIENS?

This is not your father's science-fiction novel. But it might be your mother's. I don't mean that in a sexist or dismissive way, but reading this book felt more like reading a romance than it did a sci-fi book. I don't mean a bodice-ripping (space bodice!) romance, but a realistic, measured a
Be warned: the jacket blurb describes only a minor portion of the story.

My version, you ask?


Love in the background of space opera! Female captain leads research team investigating exotic planet. Expedition is attacked and a researcher is killed. Hostile man takes woman prisoner, and they fall in love while death-marching across alien planet. Alas! Woman and man are soon to be adversaries in an interstellar war, and are torn apart by loyalties to t
Jan 01, 2012 Tatiana rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: read Le Guin's "Four Ways to Forgiveness" instead
Maybe one is spoiled for sci-fi forever after reading Ursula K. Le Guin? Maybe Le Guin is as good as it gets? Because Lois McMaster Bujold is supposed to be one of the best sci-fi writers, Hugo-awarded, etc., and yet, I don't see anything of note in this sample of her work.

Shards of Honour is painfully reminiscent of Maria V. Snyder's later books (anything written after Poison Study really). In a way that this novel has a promising plot, but is suffocated by the superficiality and blandness of
Apr 03, 2010 new_user rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to new_user by: Sandra
I really enjoyed Shards of Honor. Though Lois McMaster Bujold's writing is a little more sparing with emotion than I generally enjoy, she's concise while eloquent and provides evidence for her claims. When she wants to convey that Lord Vorkosigan is honorable, she lets him demonstrate in deed or gesture, as I'm sure Vorkosigan would prefer. ;)

This first entry in the Vorkosigan Saga is unique among novels because both the plot and characters are strong. Shards begins as kind of a survivor romance
I read this in line for a ticket to Dragon*con last year. Thus began the Autumn When Miles Vorkosigan Ate My Brain.
4.0 to 4.5 stars. This is the first book in the phenomenal Vorkosigan Saga and concerns the first meeting and ensuing relationship of Miles' parents, Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith. I thought this was one of the more important installments in so far as it explores the mutual respect and love between Aral and Cordelia and provides some background on the extraordinary people so critical to the life of Miles Vorkosigan. Highly recommended for all fans of the Miles books.

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.

I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go.

Somehow, Shards of Honor didn’t hit the swee
David Sven
I would probably call this Space Opera lite. I mean it is set in the far future where humans have colonised planets, have wormhole technology, and wage war with each other in space battleships. So there’s space battles, plenty of political intrigue, as well as encounters on strange planets with strange animals, like aerial jellyfish that will suck your face off as it feeds on your blood. But ultimately, all that is mere background and props for what is essentially a love story between two people ...more
I read this when it first came out & kept up with the series, but have now started listening to them as audio books in chronological order. In the Vorkosigan universe, this is the second novel (Dreamweaver's Dilemma, a short story is first, for now.) & takes place after Falling Free with entirely different characters & setting. This has the effect of putting two dots into the mural of a very interesting universe that Bujold eventually fills in over more than a dozen books & stori ...more
I listened to the Blackstone Audio app. The narration is decent, but not outstanding. A pleasant male voice, probably a baritone. Given the 3rd-person POV was mainly the heroine's, a female voice would have served better, IMO.

3.5 stars for this space opera / romance, written under the guise of sci-fi, even though there is very little scientific innovation beyond the odd species in the opening chapters -- big bloodsucking balloon-like creatures, and some novel carnivores and herbivores. Of cours
Honestly, I'm fairly new to the world of Sci Fi, although I'm a huge Fantasy fan (why are these two so often lumped together? They're completely different genres!). Strangely, I've been more into Sci Fi on the screen than in books - Star Trek, Farscape, etc. So I decided to try out the Vorkosigan Saga because it seems like a pretty big one, and one that's not hardcore because I don't know if I'm ready for that.

I'm still not sure what I think. This was a decent start to a long series. It took so
I have to review this using my iPod, since my computer can't currently post reviews from my browsers, so pardon me if this is a little brief. I'll come back and add more, perhaps, when/if the bug is fixed.

I've been meaning to read Bujold's books for a while. Everyone has sung her praises, it seems -- though there hasn't been a reliable consensus on which book to start with, Cordelia or Miles, so I finally plumped for doing things chronologically. I'm told the later books are higher quality, but
I liked Shards of Honour more than I did the first time I read it, even though I'm sticking with my original three star rating. It's fun, and this time I did get more wrapped up in it, in following the politics and in following Cordelia and Aral as they get to know each other. I still don't quite get the enthusiasm over the whole series, but I've heard at least a dozen times that I'll get along better with the Miles books.

Still, I got along pretty well with this one. The concept of honour is a t
Alex Ristea
This is the longest short book I have ever read.

Shards of Honor is a fun, easy military sci-fi with well-crafted scenes, though severely lacking on the “awesome” factor. I’m surprised how slowly the book moves for how short it is.

The story plods around with no real sense of urgency, which didn’t bother me as much as it should have. Luckily it was only an eight hour audiobook though, because any longer and I think I would have given up.

In many ways, this novel is a giant character set up for the
Ben Babcock
The Vorkosigan Saga is one of those series I’ve been meaning to read for a while. And, in fact, I read Cryoburn last year for the Hugo Awards voting. Going back to the beginning and reading the series in order has been a task long overdue, so let’s get this party started.

I love space opera. Technically speaking, Shards of Honour and its sequel, Barrayar, which I read in omnibus form, is probably more planetary romance. It is the first of a two part story of Cordelia Naismith falling in love no
First book in the Vorkosigan series. Cordelia Naismith, high-tech surveyer, meets and becomes romantically and politically entangled with a controversial military officer from the backward planet of Barrayar.

Hmm. First time through I found this book divertingly readable but ultimately clumsy. Second verse, same as the first. The romance interested me more this time, I think because I was in a better frame of mind to accept the way it happens in that sudden, regency romance way. I still winced wh
As usual, Lois McMaster Bujold has created a phenomenal work! I had started with Warrior's Apprentice, and was unsure I would want to go back and read about Miles' parents. I'm so glad I did. Their relationship is beautifully written, and the last chapter of the novel is simply genius! What a great book!

First read December 2010

Re-read March 2014

Ana’s Take:

So, this is my first ever encounter with the works of Lois McMaster Bujold and I fear it was probably the wrong place to start. Shards of Honor is, as far as I understand, the author’s first book, the one that starts the Vorkosigan Saga even though it takes place before the main character of the series, Miles, is even born ( Shards is the story of how his parents met).

First of all: It is of utmost important to note that, unlike many readers, I have come
Count me as someone unashamed to read YA, but one of the things I love best about this multi-planet, clashing cultures, space opera is that its main character is a mature, take-it-as-it-comes thirty-something not an excitable, inexperienced sixteen. Cordelia Naismith is the captain of a survey ship from the peaceable, democratic Beta Colony, where the climate is harsh and desert-like. Her expedition is attacked by a military group from the warlike Barrayar planet which is lush with vegetation an ...more
Lois McMaster Bujold is an author I have been meaning to read for the longest time, she has won so many major sf awards it is clear that she must be some kind of major talent in the field. However it took me years and years to get around to picking up one off her books simply because the synopsis of her Vorkosigan series never seem all that interesting to me. Fortunately for me Lois has graciously decided to make most of her Vorkosigan books available for FREE in digital formats on her publisher ...more
Shame on me. Shame shame shame. At first, the only reason I picked this book up was because a local book club had it as the "next up" for reading and discussion. Sure, I'd seen it around before. I used to work at a bookstore, and of course spent far too many hours of my non-working youth at Borders, Tower, and Waldenbooks. So after a while of spending time around dust jackets, glue, and acid-free paper, you get familiar with the established authors, whether you actually read their works or not. ...more
Is... is this what an adult relationship looks like? Because if so... I want one.

This is the longest I've gone between finishing a book and reviewing it in quite a few years. Usually I like to write them right away so the details are still fresh in my mind, and all my emotions are still at their highest peak. This also means that occasionally I go back and do a re-write after my emotions have settled... maybe I should start to wait longer before reviewing...
ANYWAY this has taken me so long becau
Charlie George
Far less well written than Bujold is capable of. Don't get me wrong, there were some fine character moments, especially early on, while Cordelia and Aral were first getting to know one another. But much of the latter half of the story felt meandering, as though she was trying to meet a contractual obligation or didn't know how to connect to later story elements.

I hate to say these things about such a fine author as Bujold, whose fantasy is truly outstanding for the genre. This book, on the othe
After reading through lots of recommendations, I chose Shards of Honour to introduce me to the Space Opera genre. Now that I'm done with the book, I feel confident to say that I'm a fan of the genre.

Shards of Honour has a lot of political drama, which I would normally find boring, but because the characters are so entwined and affected by the politics, I can deal with it.

Although the whole Vorkosigan saga takes place on distant planets and involves space ships and wormholes, it doesn't feel like
**edited 11/28/13

Cordelia Naismith, Beta Colony, is on a standard surveying expedition when she returns to camp to find the camp ransacked, one of her crew dead, and the savage Barrayarans after her and her men. When she is captured by Aral Vorkosigan, she fears the worst: to the easy-going, progressive, egalitarian Betans, the totalitarian, honor-obsessed Barrayarans are savage, murdering rapists. And now she is being forced to travel with one. But she soon begins to fall for Vorkosigan's bizar
Melissa Proffitt
11/1/14 Update: This is still one of my favorite books. Read it as an audiobook this time with my husband and it was really great.

9/23/12: I find this book deeply satisfying and am always surprised that it was her first published novel, beating The Warrior's Apprentice to the shelves by about two months. (I am even more surprised that The Warrior's Apprentice was only her second book.) It's science fiction, war story, and romance novel combined, and I like the balance between the three. Cordelia
Chance Maree

I'm glad I didn't know this was a sci/fi space opera romance novel, for those are stories I'd normally avoid. The beginning hook worked quite well -- a team of survey scientists from a peaceful/liberal world are exploring native lifeforms on a new planet when they are attacked by foes from a military/dictator society. During a brief Survivor-like episode, the two main characters fall in love in a slow, back-burner simmering way with a thankful lack of bodice ripping and pec flexing. Flying vampi
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Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children.

Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen Books features the perennially bestse
More about Lois McMaster Bujold...

Other Books in the Series

Vorkosigan Saga (Publication) (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2)
  • Ethan of Athos (Vorkosigan Saga, #3)
  • Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga, #4)
  • Brothers in Arms (Vorkosigan Saga, #5)
  • The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga, #6)
  • Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7)
  • Mirror Dance (Vorkosigan Saga, #8)
  • Cetaganda (Vorkosigan Saga, #9)
  • Memory (Vorkosigan Saga, #10)
  • Komarr (Vorkosigan Saga, #11)
The Curse of Chalion (Chalion, #1) Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7) The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2) Paladin of Souls (Chalion, #2) The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga, #6)

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